[sc name=”Author Seth I Finkelstein”]
After 11 weeks we are finally finding out who the elite teams are, the middle class, and the rest. Here are my tiers.
Tier 1: Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, Rams, Saints, Seahawks
Tier 2: Chiefs, Vikings, Cowboys, Panthers
Tier 3: Titans, Jaguars, Lions, Falcons
Tier 4: The rest of the pack
Tier 1 teams can win the Super Bowl. Teams in tier 2 have an outside shot. The rest of the teams have no shot.
[sc name=”Google Inline Ad”]
Observations from Last Week
- Blake Bortles attempted 51 passes. One worse than the next. If I would’ve told you on Sunday morning, Bortles would have 51 attempts, you would’ve thought they would’ve lost by 30 and had to play catch up the entire game. Thanks to the Chargers ineptness, they won.
- The Patriots have held their last five opponents to 17 points or less. Is it safe to say their defense is back?
- Over their last three games,the Broncos defense has given up 121 points, 40 per game.
- I have been a Saints doubter all year. They showed they are for real. This team is really really good, and they don’t even rely on Drew Brees.
- The Bears were embarrassing Sunday. They had a chance to beat the Packers at home for the first time since 2010, and bury their arch rivals. They came out flat.
- Looking ahead at the Packers schedule, they host the Ravens, @ Steelers, vs. Bucs, @ Browns. If the Packers can go 3-1 over their next four, which is very possible, they will be 8-5. Then perhaps Aaron Rodgers can come back for the last three games @ Panthers, vs. Vikings, @ Lions. There’s always a team that makes an out of nowhere second half run to make the playoffs. I’m not saying it’s the Packers, but don’t be shocked.
- The Steelers had their monthly WTF game. Luckily for them, the Colts are awful.
- The Rams are on pace to score the exact amount of points ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ scored in 1999.
- I was most excited for the Vikings- Redskins game and it didn’t disappoint. But I did not expect Case Keenum to throw four touchdowns and it be that high scoring.
- The Falcons were favorite by three over the Cowboys on Sunday. Last week I wrote, “There’s your fishy line of the week. Vegas is begging you to bet the Cowboys, which means, you take the Falcons.” The Falcons dominated. Thanks in part to Jason Garrett leaving Chaz Green alone to block Adrian Clayborn, who had six sacks.
- The Bills second half swoon continues. Season after season they’re a first half team.
Rant of the Week
There are just so many boneheaded decisions from this past Sunday. From John Fox’s challenge, to the Chargers blowing it again, the Browns not getting any points at the end of the first half. But I like to go off the fray. Ben McAdoo, as Mike Francesa said, “you are a dead man walking.” He’s just such an awful coach. But how could he not wear any camouflage the past two Sundays? This month is Salute to Service, which honors the military. I’m pretty sure, most, if not all, wear a camouflage hat or a camouflage sweatshirt this month. Except for McAdoo. He wore all blue last Sunday and all black this past Sunday. What are you trying to accomplish? Your team is downright embarrassing. The least you can do is show your support, like the rest of the league, to the military that protects our country.
Survivor League Strategy
For those of you unfamiliar with survivor pools, it’s very simple; pick a team to win each week, if they win you move on to the next week. But you cannot use that team ever again. There is no point spread involved.
While you many survivor pools are nearing their end, some have restarted so it’s like Week 1 all over again.
Before making any picks, look at the point spreads. Vegas has the best minds, smarter than any of us, use them to get a glimpse at how each team is projected to fare that week. There will be a game or two a week where the line makes NO SENSE which means Vegas is giving you an inside scoop and they’re mostly always right. For example, how in the world are the Falcons 3 point favorites over the Cowboys last week? Vegas was begging you to bet the Cowboys. The Falcons cruised.
The biggest favorites in Week 11 per sportsbook (home team in caps):
- Chiefs -10.5 @ GIANTS
- SAINTS -7.5 vs. Redskins
- Jaguars -7.5 @ BROWNS
- STEELERS -7 vs. Titans
- Patriots -7 vs. Raiders (in Mexico)
Teams on bye: Colts, 49ers, Jets, Panthers
Only three late games yet again. Just absurd.
Top Survivor Picks for Week 11
STEELERS -7 vs. Titans
The Steelers just had their weird game of the month. Luckily, they won and can put that behind them. Since 2013, the Steelers are 25-10 at home in the regular season, and in primetime, are 6-2 at home. It’s supposed to be a cold chilly Thursday night in Pittsburgh with a high of 42 and low of 30. Perfect weather for the Steelers defense to pounce on an offense averaging 18 points on the road.
The Titans are 6-3, but their wins are garbage. They beat the Jaguars and Seahawks in Weeks 2 and 3. Those wins may seem good now, but the Jags were just getting into the flow of things and Week 1 can be overlooked. They then beat the Seahawks, and everyone knows Seattle doesn’t really start playing until November. The other four wins come against the Colts, Browns in overtime in a game that featured seven field goals, the atrocious Ravens by three, and this past Sunday on a last minute drive to beat the Bengals. Congratulations, Tennessee. But I’m not buying it. They are a slow methodical offense, that doesn’t have enough firepower to play with the Steelers. The Titans are 24th in pass plays for 20+ yards. If I’m a Steeler defense this week, who am I scared of? Rishard Matthews or Corey Davis? Come on, just stack the box and stop DeMarco Murray or Derrick henry and that’s a wrap.
Chiefs -10.5 @ GIANTS
I don’t think you can make this line high enough. Off a bye, Andy Reid is 16-2 in his head coaching career. The Chiefs are healthy and fresh. How in the world is the atrocious, disgusting Giants secondary going to stop Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, or Kareem Hunt? As we saw on Sunday, the Giants defense quit. They got mauled by a 49ers team that was depleted by injuries. It’s very possible the Giants go winless at home this season.
Patriots -7 vs. Raiders (Neutral site)
As I wrote above, the Patriots defense is back. Tom Brady looks like he’s 25-years-old. The Patriots will be ready for the elevation as they just played in Denver, 5,280 feet in elevation and are practicing in Colorado Springs this week, elevation 7,258 feet. The altitude in Mexico is 7,382 feet. Belichick will have the Pats ready. I’m not sure I can say the same about the Raiders.
SEAHWKS -3 vs. Falcons- Shouldn’t the Seahawks get an extra point for just playing at home and this line be four? The forecast calls for a wet night. The Seahawks are 10-1 at home in primetime since 2012 with an average margin of victory of 19.5 points.
Top Survivor Picks to Avoid
SAINTS -7.5 vs. Redskins
I know I said at the beginning of this column, the Saints are for real and all. But Kirk Cousins has proved this season he can win in crazy environments when everyone is counting him out. 7.5 points is a ton to lay to a team that averages 23 a game. The Saints average 30. All the stats point towards the Saints, but Washington will need to find a way to stop the run, something they’ve struggled with in recent weeks. The Saints are rolling, they are for real, but will they have a letdown game this week? Something they’ve done at home in recent memory.
Jaguars -7.5 @ BROWNS- I never thought I’d see the day where a Blake Bortles led team is a seven point favorite on the road. This is a CRAZY amount of points to lay if you were to take the Jags. The Browns had a very good shot to beat the Lions on Sunday getting off to a 10-0 lead in the first, and then having a 24-17 lead in with one minute left in the third. The Browns have played four games at home in Cleveland this year (not including the London game) and have lose by three, 24, three, and three. They play a ton better at home and I think they will win one game this year. This is the week. Bottles hasn’t thrown a pick-six yet, but it’s long overdue.
- Lions -3 @ BEARS- This will be a sloppy game. I’d think the Lions would be favorite by 4.5 to five, but with the line only three, I like the home dog.
- DOLPHINS -3 vs. Bucs- This game was supposed to be Week 1 but was postponed to due to hurricane Irma. I couldn’t care less about these two awful teams.
- Ravens -2 @ PACKERS- How are the Ravens a favorite? They don’t deserve to lay points to anyone but the Browns.
- VIKINGS -2 vs. Rams- Game of the week. I like the Vikings. Rams have an early east coast game as a west coast team.
- Cardinals -1.5 @ TEXANS- Another meaningless game.
- CHARGERS -4 vs. Bills- The Bills are a terrible second half team and have shown that in their past two. The Chargers find ways to lose in the most excruciating way. Only one will happen. Or maybe we’ll see a tie.
- BRONCOS -2.5 vs. Bengals- Another unwatchable game.
- Eagles -3.5 @ Cowboys- The Cowboys are missing arguably their most important players, Sean Lee. Without Lee, the Cowboys defense can get roasted by Carson Wentz.
Any questions? Feel free to ask me on Twitter @Seth_Fink.
Best of luck!